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FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 net orders reach 40,100 units in October

Nov. 3, 2020
This is the first 40,000+ unit month for Class 8 orders since October of 2018, adding to the already increased order activity from September.

FTR reports preliminary North American Class 8 net orders for October reach 40,100 units. This is the first 40,000+ unit month for Class 8 orders since October of 2018, adding to the already increased order activity from September. Orders were up 26 percent month over month and up 83 percent year over year. Class 8 orders for the past twelve months now stand at 215,000 units.

Fleets continue to order Class 8 trucks in large quantities for 2021 delivery. The freight markets are holding up surprisingly well after coming out of the lockdown stage of the pandemic. Consumer retail sales remain vibrant, necessitating frequent restocking which has kept freight rates elevated, capacity tight, and generating the need for more trucks.

The hefty order volume in October indicates the market is beginning to return to its traditional order cycles. If the pace holds up, the fourth quarter of 2021 should look similar to the surge that took place in Q4 2014, although it won’t be quite as strong.

“September was the turning point for the Class 8 market,” said Don Ake, vice president of commercial vehicles for FTR. “Fleets became much more confident about future freight demand and began placing large orders to replace older units and for expansion purposes, as capacity tightened. In just a few months, the industry has gone from fear, to hope, to optimism. It appears the industry has sluffed off the uncertainties about the pandemic for now.

“There is still some pent-up demand from the OEM shutdowns in March and April, but there is also widespread momentum generated after the economic restart that is continuing to build. Industrial freight is still lagging somewhat. If manufacturing starts to rebound, sales go even higher.”

Final data for October will be available from FTR later in the month as part of its North American Commercial Truck & Trailer Outlook service.